On Bear Island

Erica Bodwell

The longing is to be pure.  What you get is to be changed.

                                                                Jorie Graham


Attachments slip through my fingers,

like sand, like water.

Some holdouts get snagged:

the scale, covering the grays, the calories

burned on the elliptical.

The body, the body, my friends

in bikinis, the iPad camera snapping snapping.

The dock, the lake, Sunny the dog,

all lit from within like an early Church

painting, like these women,

my women, waves breaking.

One smokes cigarettes,

Something I can do that won’t make me gain weight.

One just ended radiation

ribs showing through her back like a shipwreck.

One with pendulous breasts, belly, ambrosial,

almost naked all weekend, down around the edges arrowing

the whole womanly riddle.

She worries the rest of us a little, the way she sparks.

Another bikini, chartreuse, string.

Lithe, each muscle visible, hand to abs,

strumming out her song,

I really haven’t eaten in three days,

and the adolescent

ducks paddle by.

We’re sliding, some holding on until fingers bleed,

some letting go

careening slamming slapping crashing but always

turning turning. Through.



A native New Yorker, Erica Bodwell is a poet and attorney living in Concord, New Hampshire. She has poems appearing or forthcoming in Red River Review, Crack the Spine, Emerge Literary Journal, The Orange Room Review and FictionWeek.